This is a reworked version of the No. 7 Batwing Dress from the Japanese book Drape Drape 2. I bought this striped knit about a year ago, against the day that I'd dare sewing with knits, and since it's a nice drapey one it seemed a good fit. The original had an asymmetric ruched skirt attached, but I know I'd get way more wear out of it as a top, so I used part of the back piece of my Rowe Top pattern and sailed on in. I admit, it doesn't have much hanger appeal...
The construction of this was really counter-intuitive. It's in two pieces (at least the original was), with the front, sleeves and most of the back as one piece. The lower back, or really, back skirt, joins at the waist and side seams. I had to go fairly slowly and read the instructions carefully; for a while there I thought the sleeve cuffs were the parts that formed the back neck!
I realised after I'd taken the photos that the singlet I was wearing underneath was bunched up on one side. One day I'll notice these things beforehand...
It's really hard to describe the way it went together - even now I have to keep running back to check it. That massive (a full 150cm wide) main piece wraps around to form the upper back and - happy surprise, this - when you use a striped knit it becomes a rather lovely chevron design.
Given the number of recent less than stellar makes, I feel justified in being quite proud of my stripe matching here!
The neckline and sleeve cuffs are bound using narrow strips of the fabric. Being striped meant it was much easier to be accurate. :)
I found I needed to change course partway through my alterations. I'd added a wide folded band to the lower front, so that it would be firm enough to hold the drape in place above, but the lower back piece, which I'd envisaged as a kind of high-low hem didn't work at all:
It was too flimsy, given that the lower front was more fitted and firm, and went a bit ripply at the edge. I ended up cutting it off and sewing a facing to it, to make it the same weight as the front band. It did mean the bands didn't match up exactly (see below), but since it bunches and drapes at just that point when it's worn it really doesn't bother me. Besides, I matched up the stripes... ;)
On reflection, I think I'm well on the way to achieving my 2014 goal of becoming more confident in sewing with knits!
I've also been doing some not very arduous costuming sewing. A local theatre group needed one of the dresses to be a bit more fancy for the final scene of their upcoming how, and they asked if I'd mind having a go. I didn't take a Before Shot, but it was just this sans beading:
I drew the flowers on, then just filled in the gaps as required. It was far, far easier to just keep the pattern width the same on both sides than it would have been to create a mirror image.
They wanted something on the overskirt as well, but chiffon doesn't take too much added weight well; beads get surprising heavy! I didn't want to interfere with the floaty drape so I just did a running stitch with the short bugle beads all the way around. It doesn't look like much here, but boy do those things sparkle under lights!
It was nice, relaxing, in-front-of-the-TV kind of work. I'm starting to wonder whether I can't incorporate some beadwork somewhere in my own makes. I've been pinning lots of vintage 50s cardigans and musing...
In other costuming news, I've put my hand up for helping out with our school production, The Sound Of Music. I'm up to my ears in 1930s fashion inspiration...Happy days!